Top Stories of 2013: No. 2, The Great Andy Dalton Debate

Clearly, this writer is a Dalton homer for a picture of this totally cool looking entrance. - Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

We enter our top-two with the most divisive topic among Bengals fans this year.

No topic has been more divisive this year than Andy Dalton. None. There have been instances this season that, after writing a piece featuring Dalton that's completely neutral, there's around 200 comments when I reload the site. Some even criticize that I'm blind, too much of a supporter -- oddly enough, I get ripped on Twitter for being a hater. You figure that one out. However, Dalton subjects are gold for comments. Sometimes, when the community isn't very active, I'll just write something about Dalton to see if everyone is alive.

For every comment someone makes about Dalton, there's a reaction from the supporters and detractors (I don't like using the word haters because it's not the 90's anymore).

For example:

Josh: "Andy Dalton didn't have a good game."

Supporters: "He didn't have much help, though. A.J. Green doesn't seem like he's going through his routes. There's really no running game to speak of, I hate Jay Gruden, and the offensive line just wasn't giving him much time to operate."

Detractors: "SEE! I told you he's no good. When will people start listening to ME!!!

Or.

Josh: "Andy Dalton looked pretty good today."

Supporters: "Hell yea, he did. Was on fire. Where are all the haters now?!" #Believe

Detractors: "Yea, but he's soooooo inconsistent."

And then.

Supporters open Excel spreadsheets, use the SUM formula, and compare Dalton's numbers to quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, proving that Dalton is ahead of the curve. Detractors care not for those quarterbacks, because Dalton is Dalton and he's terrible. Supporters apply absolute faith, believing greatness approaches. Detractors turn to numbers. Supporters say, what numbers. Detractors say f*** off.

Of course I say this in jest. It's riveting, to be honest, just how polarized the debate has become; not unlike a political encounter where neither side is willing to give ground. People believe what they believe and that's that. When Dalton has a poor outing, detractors are louder. When Dalton has a good effort, supporters hear the echoes of their own cheers.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Dalton does have his consistent moments and he can become careless with the ball. But when he's good, he tends to have epic performances. You don't break two major single-season franchise records for the same franchise that Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason and Carson Palmer played for, if you're not a good quarterback. And you don't have your detractors if you haven't earned some of it. There is a balance. Seriously. Find it. You'll be centered and instead of approaching a discussion about an entire career (10 of which haven't even been played yet), talk about the most recent game.

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